World Immunization Week (April 24-30) not only saw numerous campaigns across the globe, but it also featured the launch of an ambitious multilateral effort to lift vaccination rates among children “to at least pre-pandemic levels.” The effort—dubbed “The Big Catch-up”—brings together WHO, UNICEF, Gavi, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and other partners: focusing particularly on the 20 countries that are home to 75 percent of the children who missed vaccinations in 2021, it seeks to strengthen healthcare systems, improve health service delivery, build trust and demand for vaccines with community members, and address gaps and obstacles to restoring immunization.
Meanwhile, governments at every level—from municipalities to countries—celebrated World Immunization Week with a range of initiatives, including:
- Canada’s city of Toronto offered routine and catch-up vaccinations in city-run clinics to children ages 4 to 17.
- Pakistan’s Punjab province conducted outreach activities to help immunize children against measles, deploying 4,486 vaccinators and as many social mobilizers to reach children across the province.
- Kyrgyzstan deployed 76 mobile teams to conduct routine and catch-up immunization.
- Nepal launched a weeklong campaign aiming to raise the share of fully vaccinated children from 80% to 95%.
- Peru’s Tacna region launched a door-to-door and fixed-point campaign aiming to immunize 4,100 people against chickenpox, Covid-19, diphtheria, hepatitis B, influenza, measles, mumps, pertussis, pneumococcus, polio, rubella, tetanus and yellow fever.
In the press release announcing the Big Catch-up, the collaborating organizations noted that over 100 countries had recorded declines in childhood vaccination since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. WHO; Globe Echo; City of Toronto; Business Recorder; 24.kg; Khabarhub; Andina